Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

14 May 2013


 Ali Farka Touré (Ali Ibrahim Touré) was born in 1939 in the village of Kanau on the banks of the River Niger near Gourmararouse, Timbuktu, Mali. He is a legendary Malian guitarist, perhaps the best known exponent of Mali blues. Touré was born into a North Malian noble family who trace their roots back to the Spanish Moors who first crossed the Sahara to control the salt & gold trade. He was his mother’s tenth son but the first to survive infancy.

Touré explains, "I lost nine brothers of the same mother and father. The name I was given was Ali Ibrahim, but it’s a custom in Africa to give a child a strange nickname if you have had other children that have died." The nickname they chose for Ali was ‘Farka’ meaning donkey (an animal admired for its strength, stubbornness, & tenacity). When Touré was still an infant, his father died while serving in the French army. The family moved south along the river to Niafunké, the village Touré called home for the rest of his life.

Touré was Niafunké’s most famous citizen. Although internationally known as a musician he regarded himself as a farmer. In Mali, music is largely the monopoly of the castes of hereditary musicians, the griots, but Touré came from a noble background. There was no tradition of music in his family. He said he was "drawn to music by its power."

In 1956, after a chance meeting with the director of Guinea's National Ballet, Keita Fodeba, Toure made the decision to learn the guitar.

It was a prescient choice, for today Touré is known as the 'Bluesman of Africa' because of his highly distinctive blues style. It is a cross of the Arabic-influenced Malian sound with American blues reminicent of bluesmen such as John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins,& Big Joe Williams.

Ali Farka Touré was a true original. He was an exceptional musician. He transposed the traditional music of his native north Mali. He singlehandedly brought the style known as desert blues (spanning a plethora of bands like Etran Finatawa, Tinariwen, Group Inerane, Toumast) to an international audience. He was a giant of music. He will be missed by family, friends, neighbors, & fans throughout the world. 

He moved back to Niafunké in the 1990s. He was mayor of his home town on the edge of the Sahara. He also acted as a peacemaker in the Touareg Rebellions of the mid 90s. He died after a long illness in March 2006, leaving a widow & 11 children.

On The River: Ali Farka Touré – vocals & guitar; Mamaye Kouyate – ngoni; Amadou Cisse – vocals, calabash, & percussion, with Rory McLeod - harmonica, & The Chieftains' Seane Keane & Kevin Conneff on fiddle & bodhran (Irish goatskin drum). There is also a marvelous duet with saxophonist Steve Williamson for some Afro-R&B.

 Ali Farka Touré – The River, World Circuit WCB 017, 1990.
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Side 1 –
Ai Bine

Side 2 –


Ama Maïga's two releases, the 45rpm Ama Maïga et les Almamy du Melodie Volta  & the album Une Fleche Malienne showcase the works of one the first practitioners of fusion between traditional Malian kora sounds & modern African pop.

Ama was called ‘the Malian arrow’. The song "Deny Tologuelen" is a masterpiece of modern African music. The 45 was recorded in Upper Volta, Burkina-Faso in 1975.

Ama Maïga et les Almamy du Melodie Volta, Volta Discobel VDB 035, 1976.
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face A –
Deny Tologuelen

Face B –

Ama recorded the one-off Une Fleche Malienne in Paris with a crew of session musicians. He then dropped off the map, never to be heard from again.

On Une Fleche Malienne, the performers are: Ama Maïga – vocals; Gerry Malekini – lead guitar; Ringo – rhythm guitar; Kouyate Soura-kate – kora; Freddo Tete – trumpet; Jimmu Nvondo – tenor saxophone; Mare Sanogo – djembe; Billy Bangora – bass; & Bava Leo Keita – drums. (Soura-kate – kora & Mare Sanogo – djembe are African musicians with extensive discographies. Ringo [Rigobert Bamundele aka Rigo Star] is a hard working session guitarist with credits on more than 25 releases in Paris & Africa. Jimmu et Freddo were a horn section popular in Paris at the time of this recording.  The twosome, along with the rest of the session musicians seem to followed Ama into oblivion).

 Ama Maïga – Une Fleche Malienne, Disques Sonics 79426, 1984.0
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Face A -

Face B -
Djougou Sago


I featured the birth of desert blues with Ali Farka Touré. Many of the other Tuareg electric blues bands have scattered on the desert winds. Yet I couldn’t really touch on Mali without including some Mandé music. The Mandé people, including the Mandinka, Maninka, & Bamana have produced a vibrant popular music scene alongside traditional folk music. The Mandé people all claim descent from the legendary warrior Sunjata Keita, who founded the Mandé Empire in 1235.

Mandé musical tradition began there. Encompassing four distinct styles of music, Mandé is: hunter's music: music of the jelis (as they are known in Mali) or griots, djembe & other drumming; & guitar-based modern music. Mamoudou Camara plays modern Mandé music that is very entertaining.

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Face A –
diya Nobon

Face B –
Alla Ma




  1. The River
    VDB 035
    Une Fleche Malienne